The ranking comes as Rochester and Buffalo are trying to attract Amazon to western New York
New York is ranked the second worst in the nation when it comes to its business tax climate. So will that scare businesses — including big businesses like Amazon — from opening up shop here?
The ranking was done by the Tax Foundation.
News 20NBC’s Albany affiliate WNYT spoke with Ken Polasky, the Vice President of the Business Council of New York State. He said the news isn't all bad. New York has dramatically improved its franchise taxes, increasing its corporate tax rank to number seven in the index. He feels the rest of the woeful tax picture can be offset by New York's assets.
“A tech company like Amazon is going to be looking very heavily at quality of work force, education of work force, quality of life issues. Are the schools good, are the cities livable? On some of those scores, I think New York state ranks very well," Polasky said.
WNYT reached out to the state for reaction to the Tax Foundation ranking. Morris Peters with the New York State Division of Budget sent the following statement: "We now have the lowest corporate tax rate since 1968, the lowest manufacturers' tax rate since 1917 and with the new income tax cuts phasing in this year, the lowest middle class tax rates since 1947."
In September, Amazon created a North American competition by encouraging cities to apply to be the new home of its second headquarters. Amazon said it would be a $5 billion investment and promised up to 50,000 jobs. The prospective cities have to meet certain requirements.
A recent report by financial analyst company Moody’s titled “Where Amazon’s Next Headquarters Should Go” ranks Rochester at 60th out of 65 cities (with Buffalo at #620 in “business environment.” However, both cities fared better in Moody’s analysis for “cost of living” (Rochester at #6 and Buffalo at #1) and “skilled workforce” (including number of people with degrees in science, engineering and math), with Rochester at 16th and Buffalo at 41st. Combined, Rochester was fourth overall in Moody’s ranking, behind only Austin, Atlanta and Philadelphia.
Greater Rochester Enterprise and its partner, Invest Buffalo Niagara, started talking about a Buffalo-Rochester team two days after Amazon issued the challenge to pick a second headquarters. The proposal makes Rochester-Buffalo a high-tech corridor. It highlights such attributes as population — with more than 2 million people between the two cities —and includes details like RIT's packaging science program, which has graduates working at Amazon.
"We've got great tech talent at a very competitive rate. And an eco-system that can support not just the physical assets they need but the entrepreneurial assets in the way they run their company. And that's why they should be here,” said Matt Hurlbutt, CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise.